- Leading in Prayer. As a leader, there are several steps to help your group with community prayer: 1) understand where your group comfort level is with prayer. 2) Create a safe place for prayer—remove the performance pressure. 3) Clarify the logistics about how do we proceed together.
- Praying for One Another. Prayer time can easily be dominated by the time it takes to share prayer requests. Plus, many prayer requests can seem very "distant" to other group members. To facilitate prayer time, focus prayer requests on God's deeper work in group members' lives. To do this, suggest topics for prayer time and learn to ask good questions of one another leading into prayer time.
- Confession. While confession is encouraged in Scripture, it can be particularly difficult for individuals, let alone groups. To help groups with confession, keep the 4 C's of confession in mind:
• Confidentiality—what's shared in the group stays in the group.
• Compassion—confessed sin must be met with compassion rather than condemnation.
• Commitment—the motivation behind confession is spiritual growth.
• And finally, another C becomes a byproduct of confession, and that is cleansing.
- Other Prayer Contexts. Many of these same aspects of group prayer also apply in personal prayer as well as in corporate prayer settings.
Strengths and Features
The book has many group prayer "tips" and illustrates many of the principles with real-life examples from the author's experiences. There are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter, so the book could be read as a small group or a leadership team.
The book is a relatively quick read at 176 pages and includes an assessment in the Appendix so you can evaluate your group's "prayer quotient."
The book gives many practical ideas and covers the basics with regard to prayer, but does not delve much into specific creative prayer exercises that would help groups implement prayer in fresh ways—particularly if they are struggling in that area. There are plenty of great guidelines, but you will need to add your own creativity to your prayer times.
There are not many books of this nature that really explore the mechanics and heart behind small-group prayer. For that reason alone, this book is worth checking out.
But beyond that, in many small groups, prayer probably tends to be sloppy at best and unhealthy at worst. Therefore, wrestling with how small groups do prayer is worth the time and effort. Part of that time and effort would be well spent reading this book. Find out more about Together in Prayer and how to get it here.
—Dan Lentz is an Editorial Advisor for SmallGroups.com and the author of Let's Get Started: How to begin your small-groups ministry (Standard, 2007). Copyright 2009 by the author and Christianity Today International.